It is not illegal to drink and drive – it’s illegal to drink too much and drive. But how much is “too much”? Michigan law says you cannot have a bodily alcohol content (BAC) equal to or greater than .08. Not many know exactly how much you have to drink to achieve that level or higher. It is different for every person depending on your gender, body weight and your body’s ability to eliminate alcohol. In this society, it is common for someone to drink one or two drinks and drive. It is also common for a client charged with drunk driving to ask me “how was I supposed to know what my bodily alcohol content was?”
While a majority of us haven’t been pulled over for suspicion of DUI, this is a story that all of us fear. No one intends to get in their car and drive home intoxicated. Nevertheless, it happens. Unfortunately, a lot of people assume that their bodily feelings and coordination correlate to their Blood Alcohol Content, or BAC.
For example, let’s say you’ve had some drinks. You know you would have some reading on a breathalyzer, but because you don’t feel drunk you probably won’t blow over the limit. Or so you think. The way our bodies react to our alcohol consumption is NEVER an exact indicator of our actual BAC. Often times, many people guess they will be under but in reality, they have no idea until the police tell them when it’s too late.
To counteract this “guesstimation”, some European cities are requiring motor vehicle operators to purchase and carry breathalyzer kits for their cars. France, for example, requires its drivers to purchase one of two breathalyzer kits. One is an electronic, reusable model (comes with a hefty price tag), and the other one is a cheaper one-time use model. While use of these products isn’t required, having them available is. Failing to have one available in your car carries a fine of 11 Euros ($14USD).
While this law is NOT in place in the United States yet, it does represent a move towards preventing drunk driving instead of policing it. Frankly, I believe that it is a good idea to have one available in your vehicle at all times. Even though it isn’t required by law, it may save you some headaches and money. These self-tests are not admissible in court, and are not calibrated to the same standards as police agencies use.
Do not ever rely on these breathalyzers as an accurate reading of your BAC. If you blow a .07, don’t risk it. The error rate may still put you over the limit. Although, if it reads .15 do not drive and call a cab.
Attorney Morris has enjoyed a very successful and distinguished career as a trial lawyer providing high quality legal representation in the area of state and federal criminal defense for 19 years. He is known for his trial preparation by fellow attorneys, judges and clients alike. As a trial attorney, he is dedicated to attaining justice in every case, and is prepared to take on complex legal issues with success. Barton and his law firm pride themselves on obtaining results for their clients that other attorneys cannot.
Not only does Barton Morris have extensive experience, he also engages in continuing legal education to provide the highest quality legal services. Barton has received specialized scientific training through the American Chemical Society. He attended the prestigious Trial Lawyers College and serves on its Alumni Association Board of Directors. Barton Morris is also a board member of several distinguished legal associations including the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys, and the DUI Defense Lawyer’s Association Justice Foundation. He is also an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and has also graduated from their National Criminal Defense Trial College in Macon, Georgia.
Barton Morris was chosen as a Top Lawyer of Metro Detroit for 2012, 2013 & 2014 for DUI/DWI and criminal defense by DBusiness Magazine and Hour Magazine. Barton Morris was also chosen as a Super Lawyer in Criminal Defense for 2014-2017 and Barton Morris is the only Lawyer in Michigan designated by the American Chemical Society as a “Forensic Lawyer-Scientist”